Kid-Friendly Rooms in 4 Easy Steps

When I was 12, my mother renovated the attic and allowed me to have a say in the decor of my new bedroom.  Under the heading of no good deed goes unpunished, her willingness to collaborate resulted in an epic battle about whether or not to buy an expensive hunter green wallpaper I loved.

Naturally I won, and the now dated wallpaper’s still on display—albeit only on two walls (a compromise).

While most kids have more pressing concerns than wallpaper, nearly every person enjoys a well-designed space that reflects their personality and interests, and the following tips will help you to create rooms your kids will love:

Make it more than a bedroom

Adults have the entire house to decorate, but children’s bedrooms are their castle; it’s the place they sleep, study and often entertain friends.

1.  In larger bedrooms, be sure to include a comfortable occasional chair, a desk and a task lighting for studying and reading. Look for comfortable pieces scaled for kids. If you’re more comfortable with neutral fabrics, toss a colorful blanket over the top to create interest.

2.  In smaller or shared rooms, consider vaulted bunk beds, which are easy-to-build (or buy). Bunk beds not only free up floor space for furniture; they’re also fun!

Looking for ideas? Check out:

Room and Board, 10071 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 847-673-2655

Let them show off

Trophies, ribbons and photos remind kids about what’s important in life—studying, teamwork, friends and family. And on the bright side, kids literally earn their own decor. For maximum effect:

1.  Frame certificates of achievement and group them together above a dresser or bed.

2.  Use trophies as bookends or group them together for maximum impact on a shelf or atop a dresser.

Looking for ideas? Check out:

The Great Frame-Up, 51 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, 847-480-0400

Use bright colors

As evidenced by cartoons, comic books and video games, kids love bright colors, and a sea of neutral fabrics in varying textures against cream walls will bore most kids faster than a trip to TJ Maxx. Try the following:

1. Frame vintage comic books in simple black frames. Comics are often inexpensive, and it’s easy to find them at North Shore hobby shops. Bulk collections can also be bought relatively inexpensively on eBay and Craig’s List.

2. Hang sports pendants from the perimeter of the ceiling for a punch of bold color. As an added bonus, pendants are easy to change out when the season ends (or if your child’s a fair-weather fan).

Looking for ideas? Check out:

Comix Revolution, 606 Davis St., Evanston, 847-866-8659

Dick’s Sporting Goods, 5601 Touhy Ave., Niles, 847-673-0135

Do as I say, not as I did

Looking back, that expensive wallpaper was a big mistake. I quickly tired of it, but its expense made removing it a sticky topic with my mother.  Even most adults have trouble spotting the difference between a lamp from Target and one from Luminaire, so brands matter little.

Finally, don’t forget to have fun!

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